Louisville Sends Three Representatives to the PJ Library International Conference

By Laura Arfa, Alison Roemer and Gab Melendez
Guest Columnists

L-R: Alison Roemer, Laura Arfa and Gab Melendez represented Louisville at the PJ Library International Conference April 8-10, 2024 in Springfield, Mass.

The PJ Library International Conference took place in Springfield, Massachusetts on April 8 – 10, 2024. The theme of this year’s conference was Simcha (Joy). Thanks to our partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Louisville sent PJ Library Parent and Community Volunteer Laura Arfa; Gab Melendez, Jewish Program Outreach Manager; and Alison Roemer, Senior Director, Jewish Journeys & Experiences, to the conference. The attendees discussed how to find and create moments of joy through our Jewish values and bring these moments back to share with our own communities. 

Approximately 300 attendees from 13 different countries committed to finding ways to connect Jewish families through the Jewish values PJ Library books offer. The Louisville attendees participated in sessions about designing highly curated experiences for families, which inspire people to continue to actively participate in future events. The conference featured many peer-learning sessions focused on building relationships with children, parents, and grandparents to get entire family units more involved in their Jewish communities. Alison Roemer feels that “one of the best parts of the conference is sharing ideas with other PJ Library professionals and making connections that will continue through the year.” The Louisville cohort had several opportunities to collaborate with our friends from the Federation of the Bluegrass (in Lexington) and are planning a joint program in the summer. 

Interactive sessions focused on finding ways to be creative with the use of art to share the values that are most important to us. Other sessions demonstrated how music can touch the soul and that cooking Jewish food passed down through families for generations can bring joy and comfort during a Shabbat dinner and other special holidays. Each theme not only helps shape our Jewish identity, but also connect us through ideas and values we can all share and enjoy together. The team came back ready to create new programming throughout the year and are excited to get started. 


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